June 3, 2016 -
Public calls for Aquarion land to remain undeveloped
June 2, 2016 -
Next phase of Sound cleanup will be costly
May 26, 2016-
Hammonasset Beach State Park's New Additions Now on Display
, Madison Patch
May 25, 2016-
Connecticut Lawmakers Urge Reforms To Fishing Regulations 'Fraught With Defects'
, Hartford Courant
May 24, 2016-
Connecticut DEEP studying climate change group's contention greenhouse emissions rose here
, New Haven Register
June 2, 2016 -
CBO warns of climate change's budget impact
June 2, 2016 -
New Orleans Embraces Water Inside City With New Green Model
, Associated Press
June 1, 2016 -
Texas' Brazos River hits century high, Houston braces for floods
May 31, 2016-
Rising seas could swamp crucial infrastructure
May 30, 2016 -
Climate Change Is Rewiring Government-Citizen Relationships
May 26, 2016-
How Federal Flood Maps Ignore the Risks Of Climate Change
May 24, 2016-
How States and Cities Are Bracing for the Next Disaster,
May 23, 2016-
Crocodiles and Palm Trees in the Arctic? New Report Suggests Yes,
May 15, 2016-
April breaks global temperature record, marking seven months of new highs
, The Guardian
- Urban Waterfront Adaptive Strategies - A guide to identifying and evaluating potential strategies for increasing the resilience of waterfront communities to coastal flooding and sea level rise.
- June 9, 16, 25, 2016 - Old Lyme's Forum on Climate Change, sponsored jointly by the Town of Old Lyme and the First Congressional Church of Old Lyme.
June 10, 2016 - Bridgeport Rebuild by Design: guest speaker event on climate change impacts on cultural resources and open houses on the Bridgeport Rebuild by Design project. Open to the public. 7 Middle St. Bridgeport, CT
- June 28, 2016 - Connecticut Association of Floodplain Managers (CAFM) tour of Stratford Point living shoreline project. Register by June 21, 2016.
These funds are meant to help Connecticut organizations bring in new sources of funding for resilience. For this reason these CIRCA funds can provide the match for proposals that will be submitted to an external funding organization. Applicants should apply to CIRCA before they submit their proposal or before the external grant award is made. The CIRCA award will provide up to 25% or up to $100,000 in funding to match a non-state or non-municipal grant proposal.
Local & State News Clips
A dozen neighbors of the 18.9-acres of Noroton River watershed woodlands owned by Aquarion Water Company adjacent to Frogtown Road, Welles Lane, West Road and Indian Waters Drive, and other members of the public sounded off in an attempt to preserve open space Wednesday, June 1, during a doubleheader of public hearings at Town Hall conducted by Public Utilities Regulatory Authority (PURA).
Throughout the meeting, speakers suggested they would like the New Canaan Land Trust to attain the land so that it will remain open space.
Aquarion's application to PURA calls for about 10 acres to become a subdivision into two residential building lots. The water utility already has an agreement to sell about eight of the acres to a neighbor possibly to be used as a buffer between his Frogtown Road property and the remaining, now-Aquarion land.
"The Noroton River flows directly into Long Island Sound. Every summer, for several years now, the sound has suffered from hypoxia, lack of oxygen that develops large dead zones, where fish and aquatic life can not survive," said Bergen, "The cause is excess nitrogen and phosphorus pollution that comes from septic and fertilizer runoff. So logging all of these trees, hundreds of them, to put in houses, new septic fields, wells, driveways adjacent to this watershed doesn't make any sense."
Bergen's husband Peter said that more development would result in less area for the absorption of rainwater. Bergen said there will be 44 million gallons per year of additional water. "In Connecticut, we get about 50 inches of rain in one year. The maximum rainfall in one day in Connecticut has been 7.5 inches. If a similar storm happens again we're looking at 15.5 million gallons of water all pouring up that river in a very narrow spot in one day."
Geologist and resident Skip Hobbs took to the podium and said that less than 3,000 feet south of the Aquarion land in question, "Aquarion operated a high-capacity water well that was connected to a regional water supply pipeline system." He said further, "As evidenced by the presence of former sand and gravel pits observed on the subject property, I believe the 18.737 acres was originally acquired as an aquifer recharge area for the downstream well."
"As a geologist, I take a long-term view," Hobbs said at the hearing. "This is particularly important to assure that future generations of New Canaan and Darien residents have an adequate supply of clean potable water. "I can assure you that global warming is real; Connecticut has already been impacted by climate change; and that its impact on Connecticut will be very much worse by the end of this century. Long periods of drought are a real possibility."
NORWALK - While efforts to clean up Long Island Sound have proven successful, there's still plenty more work to be done according to area fishermen, shellfish commissions and scientists.
U.S. Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn, met with Fairfield County stakeholders in the Connecticut shellfish industry Tuesday following weeks of tours and site visits throughout the state to learn about issues facing the industry. In April, Murphy proposed legislation asking for $860 million in funding for Long Island Sound restoration.
"I'm particularly focused on this industry because as a member of the appropriations committee and further, as a member of the subcommittee that oversees most of the accounts that matter to fishing and aquaculture, the shellfish industry, I'm in a position to try to help," Murphy said. "We're talking about an industry in Connecticut that officially employs about 1,400 people, but in the runoff of that industry, it doubles and triples that amount (of people) so this is particularly important to the state."
Among those in attendance was Copp's Island Oysters owner Norm Bloom, whose facility Murphy toured last month. Bloom reiterated that one of the biggest issues facing the fishermen is consistent testing of the waters where shellfish beds are located. Every time a storm pushes more water into the Long Island Sound, the waters must be tested to ensure they are safe. Oysters, which filter roughly 100 gallons of water per day, need about two weeks to filter out water that may be impacted by storm runoff, and consistent testing to ensure Bloom's oyster beds are in safe waters is imperative, he said.
"The biggest thing is testing," Bloom said. "We need to make sure the state keeps funded where they're able to get out and do all the testing. Right now we're spread out all over the state so they've got a huge area to cover now. That's one of the biggest things to keep us open is to keep the state and the testing and funding ... and the lab. That's really key to keeping us open and running."
David Carey, aquaculture bureau director for the Connecticut Department of Agriculture, said it is unclear how the state budget will impact testing this year, but that it will have an effect and the department is already looking at ways to reduce expenditures that won't impact testing.
"We're not in the worst position, as long as the weather cooperates," Carey said. "If we get a lot of wet weather and we have to keep retesting that could put us in a tight spot."
In addition to stormwater runoff, area fishermen said they're tasked daily with cleaning garbage out of the Sound. Even so, that garbage has created an uninhabitable environment in many areas.
Ed Stillwagon, of Atlantic Clam Farms in Easton, farms off the coast of Greenwich, an area that hasn't always been open for farming.
"Over the millennia people have dumped a lot of garbage in the Sound and they continue to do so every day," Stillwagon said. "Since I started there, I've collected probably 5,000 to 6,000 tons of garbage through my dumpster."
Stillwagon said he collects roughly 300 to 400 pounds of garbage per day on each of this two boats, just in Greenwich. Stillwagon said the layer of garbage is then covered by a layer of anaerobic silt that washes out from the rivers and creates what the fishermen refer to as "black mayonnaise," a sticky, disgusting mush that makes the seafloor uninhabitable for any lifeform.
"And that's just on my particular lots," Stillwagon said. "My clam production is increasing as I go because I'm cleaning it up and it's producing a more viable habitat not just for shellfish but for everything."
Though Murphy's original proposal was aggressive - asking for roughly 15 percent more funding for Long Island Sound restoration over current funding levels - Murphy said people in the Congress are taking note, and some additional funding has been added to the appropriations bill that recently moved out of committee and will be presented to the Senate. That, he said, is important progress toward what he calls the "second generation" of cleanup following improvements to the wastewater treatment plants.
"As aggressive as that sounded, some of the numbers that are embedded in the budget that is coming through the appropriations process suggest that folks are starting to listen and the fact is that we have a lot of overdue investments, we have some expensive projects coming up when it comes to the next generation of cleanup," Murphy said. "Frankly, as expensive as the wastewater treatment cleanup was, the next generation of cleanup, which comes from nonpoint sources, is more expensive in many ways. There's some people that are starting to listen."
MADISON, CT - Governor Dannel P. Malloy today joined state officials and state park advocates to kick-off the start of the first summer holiday weekend by cutting the ribbon to officially open a new nature center and bath house at Hammonasset Beach State Park, Madison.
"Connecticut has a state park system that we're all proud of, and we're doing everything we can to ensure that it can enjoyed by future generations of residents and visitors. Whether it's our beaches, our open spaces, or our trails, our recreation system is truly something to celebrate," said Governor Malloy in a prepared statement. "These improvements at Hammonasset - including the new, modern, Meigs Point Nature Center and West Beach Bath House - will be important assets in our efforts to provide first-class outdoor recreation opportunities for the Connecticut families of today and tomorrow."
The new nature center provides a modern, state-of-the-art environmental education venue, and the West Beach improvements include a new bath house, which gives park visitors a comfortable, modern and attractive service area and replaces a building that was heavily damaged by storms.
Meigs Point Nature Center
The new, 4,000-square-foot Meigs Point Nature Center replaces the existing, outdated facility, and provides a modern, year-round environmental education facility for use by the public and educators. The building has environmental exhibit space, modern bathroom facilities and an outdoor observation deck for environmental education classes.
The former nature center will remain as an administration building. The Friends of Hammonasset have been partners in this project and raised funds to design, fabricate, and install all exhibits. The heating and cooling for the building is provided by a geothermal system.
West Beach Bath House
Storm damaged facilities at West Beach have now been replaced with a 3,430-square-foot building that includes new, modern bathrooms and changing areas, offices for Environmental Conservation (EnCon) Police, a First Aid Station, and Concession Service Area with covered outdoor dining area.
The project also includes reconstruction of a parking area - with spaces for 750 cars as well as bus parking - and new recreational facilities including beach volleyball courts, a children's play area, and a paved pedestrian bicycle trail.
"Long Island Sound is the keystone environmental asset of our state, and Hammonasset Beach State Park is the perfect place for this state-of-the art environment educational center," said State Senator Ted Kennedy, Jr. (D-Branford), Senate Chair of the Environment Committee in a statement. "Thanks to the Friends of Hammonasset, Connecticut's children will be able to understand the importance of a clean environment and biological diversity. We are also grateful to Governor Malloy for sharing our vision of environmental education, protection and stewardship, and for making Meigs Point Nature Center one of his top priorities."
"We appreciate the support of the Governor and legislature, who have made funding available for capital improvements throughout our park system," Department of Energy and Environmental Protection Commissioner Rob Klee said in a statement. "We also appreciate our longstanding partnership with Friends of Hammonasset, and today we begin a new relationship with them as we open this new nature center - a terrific example of a public/private partnership."
Klee added, "It is also important to note that we have relocated the new West Beach bathhouse to move it further inland and also building it up higher off the ground. This is in recognition of climate change impacts and changing conditions on our shoreline."
Department of Economic and Community Development Commissioner Catherine Smith said,
"Hammonasset and the state park system are resources that add to the quality of life in our state and attract residents and tourists alike. The parks system and the activity it generates also has a positive impact on our economy, as visitors spend money on equipment and supplies or make a 'day' or 'weekend' of their visit by eating out or staying at nearby lodging."
Department of Administrative Services Commissioner Melody Currey said, "The staff in our Construction Services division take immense pride in projects like these. They are projects that will have a tremendous impact on Hammonasset Beach now and in the future. Our DAS team cannot think of a better way to kick off the beginning of the Memorial Day weekend than this ribbon cutting for these two new facilities for Connecticut."
"We are very fortunate to have such a destination here in our state and the Friends of Hammonasset was glad to be a part of the project," said Christine Koster, President of the Friends of Hammonasset.
Connecticut's state park system features 109 parks that offer swimming, hiking, picnicking, camping, boating, fishing, and nature programs. The parks attract more than eight million visitors each year.
History of Hammonasset
Hammonasset Beach State Park opened to the public on July 18, 1920. It was an immediate success, attracting over 75,000 visitors - from across the state and nation - in the first season.
During World War II, the park was closed to the public and loaned to the federal government as an army reservation. Meigs Point functioned as an aircraft range. Planes flew over Clinton Harbor, fired at the range and then flew out over Long Island Sound.
Today, over two million people visit the 1,100-acre Hammonasset Beach State Park each year. Out of all the Connecticut state parks, it has the largest beach frontage, measuring two miles, and attracts the most visitors. Park visitors enjoy everything from swimming, walking on the beach and boardwalk, camping, bicycling, and picnicking. It is also the perfect spot for bird watching. With more than 231 species of birds at the park, Hammonasset is one of the premier bird-watching spots in America.
Connecticut's congressional delegation is leading a renewed push for reform of federal commercial fishing quotas critics say are out of date, wasteful, fail to respond to climate change and unfair to New England fishermen.
Warming ocean temperatures are pushing vast numbers of fish like black bass, summer flounder and scup farther north into New England waters, according to the delegation's letter to federal officials, but old fishing quotas severely restrict how many of those fish commercial boats from this region are allowed to keep.
The out-of-date quota system means that fishermen from North Carolina, Virginia and Maryland are allowed to take much larger numbers of those types of fish, even when they come to New England's offshore waters to net them, according to a joint letter by Connecticut and Massachusetts members of Congress.
In a letter to U.S. Commerce Secretary
, the legislators complained that "fishermen coming from as far away as North Carolina can legally take sometimes more than ten times [the allowed catch] of New England vessels."
"We think the trend of out-of-state fishermen moving north [to fish off New England's coast]... has just been accelerating," said U.S. Rep.
, D-2nd District. He said North Carolina boats are seen fishing off the eastern end of Long Island Sound "all the time now."
"The Department of Commerce has authority to correct this hugely unfair and unproductive system," U.S. Sen.
, D-Conn., said Tuesday. "You would be hard put to devise a system more fraught with defects than this one."
But fishermen and politicians from mid-Atlantic states have lobbied hard to keep the quotas as they are.
The battle over these fishing quotas and regulations has been going on for years, but Blumenthal said the chance for real reform may be better now because President Obama is nearing the end of his term.
"It could be a great parting policy step for this administration to bring some rationality and scientific common sense to this system," said Blumenthal.
Courtney said federal legislation intended to enact some reform of the old quota-regulatory system passed the U.S. House but has stalled in the Senate. He said the letter to the commerce secretary is a change in tactics, and Courtney said he believes it is the first time congressional members from Connecticut and Massachusetts have joined together to push for administrative reforms.
Environmentalists agree that the current regulatory system needs reform and one key reason is that an estimated 80 percent of fish netted and returned to the ocean by commercial boats are dead by the time they hit the water again. State experts say hundreds of thousands of pounds of edible fish are caught and then thrown away as "bycatch" by commercial fishermen in New England waters every year.
A federal lawsuit was filed last year by the environmental activist group Oceana to force reforms in the way commercial bycatch is monitored and controlled. Gib Brogan, a spokesman for Oceana, said the suit remains entangled in legal maneuvering.
Quotas for different species of fish are set by regional councils along the Atlantic coast, with each council made up of representatives from states in that particular region.
Black bass, scup and summer flounder are regulated by the Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council because those species years ago were primarily found on the Mid-Atlantic coastline, and fishermen from that region were granted consistently large quotas.
Now that the greatest "biomass" of those species has shifted to northern waters, Connecticut and other New England states want to have a say in quotas for those fish. Last year, Connecticut commercial boats were limited to 1 percent of all black sea bass caught, or about 22,000 pounds.
"The bulk of the biomass is up here," said David Simpson, head of the marine fisheries division of the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection. "The resource is moving north."
New England currently has only one representative on the Mid-Atlantic Council, while states like North Carolina and Virginia have multiple votes. "The status quo works for those [Mid-Atlantic] states," said Simpson.
Simpson said the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, which is part of the federal commerce department, has significant influence over the way the regional fisheries councils operate. He said NOAA, "given enough pressure," could convince the Mid-Atlantic Council to change its quota system.
Brogan agrees that the current regulatory system isn't keeping up with the changes in fish populations. But he and other Oceana officials don't believe "that a simple reallocation of quotas or representation on the councils is going to solve this issue."
HARTFORD >> A climate change research and advocacy nonprofit is warning that greenhouse gas emissions have gone up in the state since 2012, marking the first upward surge in emissions since between 2003 and 2004, but the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection is not yet ready to agree Connecticut is falling back from its progress.
"This new, sustained upward trend in Connecticut's greenhouse gas emissions is a cause for concern," said Daniel L. Sosland, president of the
, the group that released an analysis of greenhouse gas emission data this week.
"We need stronger and faster reductions in GHG emissions through policies that we know are effective, such as eliminating costly energy waste, reforming our energy rules so that investments in exciting, community-oriented clean energy technologies can flourish, and increasing our clean energy supply," Sosland said.
The Acadia Center analysis of the
U.S. Energy Information Administration
's greenhouse gas emissions data from 2013 and 2014 showed that emissions in the state increased by 4.4 percent since 2012, according to the group. Data also show that the total amount of greenhouse gas emissions had been on a steady decline between 2004 and 2012.
National News Clips
The Congressional Budget Office is warning lawmakers about the fiscal risks of climate change, putting the studiously non-partisan agency at odds with Republican Party orthodoxy.
The report, released as hurricane season begins, warns that hurricane damage will "increase significantly in the coming decades" due to climate change. The agency added that humans are playing a role in fueling rising temperatures and a shifting climate.
"Human activities around the world - primarily the burning of fossil fuels and widespread changes in land use - are producing growing emissions of greenhouse gases," the report states. "Experts in the scientific community have concluded that a portion of those emissions are absorbed by the oceans, but a substantial fraction persists in the atmosphere for centuries, trapping heat and warming the Earth's atmosphere."
Most Republicans remain unconvinced that climate change is real, with the party's presumptive nominee, Donald Trump, calling it "a total hoax" and "pseudoscience." His previous rival for the nomination, Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, has called climate change a "pseudo-scientific theory." House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) has said the science is inconclusive. Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) famously threw a snowball on the Senate floor in February 2015 to argue that climate change is not real. He also wrote a book, titled "The Greatest Hoax," which called the widely accepted scientific facts around climate change a "conspiracy." Republicans have repeatedly sought to block President Barack Obama's domestic and global efforts to curb climate change.
The CBO report included possible policies that Congress might enact to mitigate the rising costs of increased hurricane damage. Among those was a "coordinated effort to significantly reduce global emissions." The agency also acknowledged that international action is needed, as U.S. emissions are trending downward as a share of the global total.
CBO noted that climate change contributes to more hurricane damage in two ways: rising sea levels and an increase in the frequency of hurricanes.
NEW ORLEANS (AP) -- In a metamorphosis, New Orleans - once overwhelmed by failed levees and Hurricane Katrina's floodwaters - is moving to become a national model of how an urban center can embrace green tactics to tame water.
The city is recalibrating its century-old system of drainage canals and massive pumps by installing green infrastructure projects, potentially on an unprecedented scale for an American city.
"Our success and our potential demise are all tied up in whether or not we learn to handle water," said Z Smith, an architect with firm Eskew+Dumez+Ripple championing the new water-management approach.
New Orleans has received about $249 million in federal funds to turn entire neighborhoods into green infrastructure experiments, mimicking natural cycles of storing and filtering water rather than flushing out runoff with ditches and pumps. Recently adopted zoning rules require new large commercial projects to install porous pavement, water-capturing land elements and ponding areas.
The federal government hopes to encourage the model across the nation in this era of climate change and intensifying storms, sea-level rise and increasing urbanization.
"They are trying to retrofit whole districts of the city with green infrastructure," said Harriet Tregoning, a principal deputy assistant secretary with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. "It is a model? Is it an experiment? Is it a place to learn from? All of the above."
The greater New Orleans urban water plan
, as the blueprint is called, mimics concepts long practiced in below-sea-level Netherlands and imports eco-friendly strategies typically seen elsewhere. New Orleans, an impoverished city, also faces unique challenges: It's a sinking delta city in a hurricane zone on a shrinking coast.
The basic idea is to collect and trap much more of the 60-plus inches of rain that fall every year rather than pump it out of the city's levee system. The rain will go into large and small detention areas - in empty fields and parks, under streets and parking lots. In turn, the city will grow greener and more attractive, planners say.
The city hopes to avoid flooding by storing water that can't be pumped out fast enough. But a bigger and more complicated feat looms: Stop the ground from sinking.
Since the early 1900s, neighborhoods atop reclaimed swamp and marsh have been sinking, by as much as 10 feet in places.
"The bad news is that we cannot go back and replace what we lost," said Jeff Hebert, the city's chief resilience officer. "We have to move that off the table. But if we don't do anything, it's going to be a lot worse."
Crucial to this experiment are 25 acres of wildflowers, ant hills and sprawling oaks in the Gentilly neighborhood, a predominantly black suburb developed atop drained swamp after World War II.
For about $12.4 million, this green space will become a series of detention ponds that could divert as much as 9 million gallons of water from the drainage system.
On a recent afternoon after a week of rain, Ramiro Diaz, architectural planner with Waggonner & Ball, crouched over a 10-foot-deep well measuring groundwater levels. They'd sprung up a bit thanks to the rain.
By collecting water here, planners hope to raise the water table year-round and counteract sinking in surrounding areas.
"Look at those houses over there," Diaz said pointing at nearby homes tilted from gradual sinking, called subsidence. "The soil here is so weak in this part of the city. When you take the groundwater out, you get subsidence."
The city is building smaller detention ponds called rain gardens on empty lots, too - seven so far with many more planned.
"These lots are designed to drain dry within 48 hours," said Brian Burns, a city project manager who oversees the gardens. "The reason being is mosquitoes like to breed in water that is no higher than 3 feet."
They are planted with native plants such as lilies, cypress and oaks, which suck up lots of water, he said.
"When you have a disaster like Katrina, or something like Houston just experienced, you really start to take an aggressive approach to dealing and managing storm water," Burns said.
Houston, with no zoning laws and untrammeled development, saw calamitous flooding in April that killed eight and inflicted tens of millions of dollars in damage.
There are critics - though few.
"All of these are schemes to deal with the geology and hydrology of a city that is not sustainable," said Ed Richards, a Louisiana State University law professor who studies the state's efforts to deal with sea-level rise, coastal land loss and gradual sinking.
The urban water plan is viewed as one line of defense in a strategy that calls for action on multiple fronts - from flood protection to rebuilding Louisiana's fragile coast in an effort to make sure the next powerful hurricane doesn't doom the region.
The city's new fondness for water is striking because 10 years ago all anyone in New Orleans seemed to think about was getting rid of it. Back then, and for years afterward, efforts were concentrated on building bigger levees, floodwalls, pumps and gates to keep hurricane waves out of the city.
"It does seem ironic that we are now trying to embrace water," said John Lopez, a coastal scientist with the Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation. "We need to do things inside the levees. Don't take that extrapolation too far. We still have to battle to keep the water out of the city."
The Brazos River in Texas surged to its highest level in more than a century in an area outside of Houston on Wednesday after floods killed at least six people, damaged hundreds of buildings and turned roads into lakes over the past week.
The National Weather Service (NWS) issued a flash flood watch for large parts of the state, including Dallas, Fort Worth, Austin, San Antonio and Houston. Storms lasting until the weekend could send even more rivers over their banks, it said.
As much as 10 inches of rain could fall in the Houston area in the coming days due to slow-moving thunderstorms, the NWS said, just weeks after eight people were killed in floods. This could touch off another round of flooding in the fourth most-populous U.S. city, it added.
Houston has activated its emergency operations center and opened evacuation shelters as forecasters warned of a new round of heavy rains and flooding.
"After all the rain we have had recently, the ground is saturated in a lot of places. It is just a muddy bog. If we put 1 to 3 inches of rainfall an hour on top of that, it is only going to aggravate flooding," said Kent Prochazka, a meteorologist with the NWS Houston-Galveston office.
The NWS reported the Brazos River, which winds over 840 miles (1,350 kms) through Texas, reached levels not seen since 1913, about 30 miles southwest of Houston.
In the most recent floods, hundreds of people across the state have fled their homes.
"It's scary, we have never had anything like this before," said Mary Hernandez of Richmond in metropolitan Houston, where evacuations were underway.
Evacuation orders have been issued for parts of Rosenberg, another town along the Brazos and not far from Richmond.
More than 120 high-water boat rescues from buildings and cars have been reported in Fort Bend County, southwest of Houston.
Several rivers in southeastern and eastern Texas were in a major flood stage.
"The United States doesn't have a good history with urban projects," says architect Matthijs Bouw.
As proof, he points to the multitude of grim public-housing projects across the country. Theorists believed courtyards enclosed by tall towers would enhance quality of life, but nobody asked the people who'd be living there. Today, students learn about places like Pruitt-Igoe in St. Louis and Cabrini-Green in Chicago as models for what not to do; city governments have already taken the wrecking ball to them.
"We've seen so many projects that failed because people didn't want them," says Amy Chester, who worked in former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg's administration.
Today, federally funded teams are attempting to learn from these failures as they try to protect low-income communities from storm surges and heat waves as the climate continues to change and weather becomes more destructive. Chester works for Rebuild by Design, launched in 2013 by the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development to help Northeastern cities recover from Superstorm Sandy-and prepare for future floods. To ensure that communities went all-in for Rebuild projects, HUD upended the normal infrastructure process: Instead of deciding what to build, municipal governments have to earn federal money by presenting ideas developed in close consultation with civic groups representing coastal communities from Connecticut to New Jersey.
Much of New York City's Lower East Side was battered by Sandy-apartment complexes lost power and heat for weeks, stranding residents in high-rise buildings that no longer had working elevators. When the waters subsided, a coalition of 38 groups-including residents' associations, advocacy groups, resource-rich charities like the Red Cross and corporate sponsors like Whole Foods Market-came together as
to organize immediate aid and develop long-term plans to better prepare the area for future environmental disasters.
Later, when the city sought HUD funding for a large climate mitigation project in the area, HUD told them to "bring a business case," says Bouw, who was part of the project team. In other words, they had to prove that the project would not just prevent future water damage but would thrive. So the project management team sent designers to meet with LES Ready to make sure local residents and business wouldn't reject their plan.
At first, the coalition's chairwoman, Damaris Reyes (also head of the neighborhood housing and preservation organization
Good Old Lower East Side
), was wary that the promises the design team were making to waterproof the coastline would leave out her and her constituents. Initially, the city had secured only enough money from HUD for work on a more mixed-income part of the riverfront north of Montgomery Street; similar work on a lower-income area farther south would someday be phase two. Reyes feared that funding would dry up before the project was complete; she knew that if the first segment didn't work out, then voter backlash could make it hard for her and her neighbors to find money for protection from another lethal storm. She and other advocates convinced the city to go find more money before they broke any ground.
In response, the city reshuffled some funds and got financial assistance from another HUD disaster relief competition, ultimately committing an additional $176 million to protect Reyes's area. In the ensuing months, Bouw's One Architecture and his colleagues from lead design firm Bjarke Ingels Group, working with a large team, developed their design in frequent workshop-style meetings with residents. Instead of the customary manager from the mayor's office, locals decided what kind of amenities they had long lacked and where to put them. The stretch of East River Park in question had long been hard to get to and spottily maintained, even though the several thousand public housing tenants who live along the riverfront have few other places for outdoor sports or fitness.
So the end result includes safe pedestrian access to the park (over a busy six-lane road), as well as more athletic field upgrades and plantings-plus a few fancy perks, like an underwater window. "We're not just coming in with more meetings to tell people what we're doing," says New York City Office of Recovery and Resiliency Director Daniel Zarrilli. "We've been incorporating feedback into the design." Ultimately, HUD gave the city a $335 million grant to build a lush, sloping berm that can soak up water from storm surges and keep public housing towers behind it safe-all while appealing to those who live there.
This approach is a trend around the world. Facing the risk of longer and harsher droughts, the government in Singapore recently launched the "Active, Beautiful and Clean Waters" program: building or rebuilding 17 reservoirs to create a sustainable water supply-without alienating locals. "The intent was to make these places attractive. We had people, even children, involved with the design, and we turned [canals] into parks," says Khoo Teng Chye, who is leading the effort.
, the first reservoir to open in the city center, can catch water from a sixth of the city's landmass and stands next to a 1,000-foot bridge. The barrage spurred Khoo's agency to come up with creative ways to get people excited about the structure. "We had workshops inviting the public to donate art and created a public outdoor gallery onshore," he says. "There was a lot of community participation compared to what could have been a fenced-off pump house."
In Rotterdam, Netherlands, the additional rainfall of an ever-wetter planet was wreaking havoc on outdated sewer systems, forcing the city to find new ways of storing rainwater. Government officials commissioned designers to work with locals on an urban design that would store storm water and make flooding "visible, audible and attractive."
The result was Water Square, which opened in 2013. It functions like a traditional plaza on pleasant days, slightly sunken from the surrounding brick patio and painted with bright blue geometric designs. On the edge of the square is a gutter shaped something like a playground slide that on rainy days captures the precipitation and dumps it into the plaza-turning it into a pool. Lights fall on the sloshing water, creating a public urban art installation. The firm that designed the square, De Urbanisten, says the gutters are wide enough to attract skateboarders on sunny days.
"The public is much more receptive to these plans if you tell them what the options are," says Jan Peelen, who works for the nation's Office of Infrastructure and the Environment. Peelen has found himself running more one-on-one meetings at public places and doing less of the top-down stuff the government usually does. The results have been surprisingly good. "We are seeing the number of appeals against projects going down," he reports. Not only that, the government is seeing the number of solutions go up. It turns out that residents sometimes have smarter ideas than those proposed by public officials.
For example, as part of the Room for the River project-which asks the hardy Dutch to admit that some areas in the Rhine River delta will flood too heavily to be livable in the near future-Peelen and colleagues proposed letting the Overdiepse Polder, in the agricultural area of Waspik, become a flood zone in order to avoid serious loss of life. The idea was that instead of simply waiting for traditional flood-plain designs like polders-low-lying tracts of land reclaimed from bodies of water and protected by dykes-to fail, they'd evacuate everyone in advance.
The cattle farmers there, predictably, didn't welcome the idea of abandoning their land. So they proposed "creating small hills" within the flood zone that they and their livestock could live on safely.
, the farmer who led this campaign, says it took some doing to get officials to treat citizens' input as valuable. "The first time we heard of the government's plan was in 2000, and it was last year that the compromise plan was ready," he says. "I'm 45, so it took a third of my life." But eventually, the project team moved to calculate how to build slopes higher than the new flood mark. Today, Fleerakker says his new home and his cows' new stables, 18 feet above the old site, satisfy all parties-including the cows.
Overwhelming scientific evidence shows climate change is leading to rising sea levels and more extreme storms. But you might not know it by looking at the federal government's flood hazard maps.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency maps flood plains across the country. The maps are intended to show which areas are likely to flood so that local governments can better plan for disasters. They also determine who must buy flood insurance, and at what rates.
The problem is, many of them aren't up to date. And even the latest maps don't take into account the anticipated effects of climate change, which will dramatically impact the potential for flooding.
"They're a very good tool for understanding what your flood risk was," said Robert Moore, a senior policy analyst at the Natural Resources Defense Council. "They tell you considerably less about what your flood risk will be."
When making maps, FEMA looks at the classic features that could contribute to flooding, according to Roy Wright, the agency's deputy associate administrator for insurance and mitigation. These features account for "today's risk," he said, and include, "What the bare earth looks like, what the built environment looks like, what the hydraulics and hydrology look like." For now, he said, FEMA only maps out future flood risk for communities that specifically request it.
Critics say that as a result, flood-related decisions across the country - from policy and funding to building codes and insurance rates - are based on maps made with historical data that underestimate the risk of disasters. Most have been updated in the last decade, but about 15 percent of maps still date back to the 1970s or 1980s, according to a FRONTLINE analysis of FEMA's
. The flood map for New Orleans, for example, was most recently updated in 1984, although a new map should be released this year.
FEMA did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the findings from the FRONTLINE analysis.
"It's entirely backward looking," said Michael Gerrard, who directs Columbia Law School's Sabin Center for Climate Change Law. "The floods of 20 years ago are not as bad as the floods that are going to be 20 years from now. But [FEMA's maps] only look at historic experience."
At FEMA, Wright said that the agency is working toward a more forward-looking approach to mapping. In December, a technical committee made several recommendations, and the agency has "done some pilots already in terms of ways we can include [future conditions]."
One barrier to changing the mapping process is money. For years, FEMA was given less than $100 million to update the nation's flood maps. Funding more than doubled under the George W. Bush administration, then declined again under President Barack Obama. Only in the last year has funding been restored to Bush-era levels. Wright said that for 2016, the president requested a budget of $400 million for mapping, and Congress approved $312 million.
15% of the federal government's flood hazard maps date back to the 1970s or 1980s.
A 2013 report by the Association of State Floodplain Managers
that it would cost as much as $7.5 billion to bring FEMA's maps up-to-date, and then about $275 million annually to keep them current.
Wright said he was "happy to see these higher funding levels." Asked whether it was enough to accomplish the program's goals, he said he supported the president's budget request. "What's really important is to see these levels sustained," he said.
But FEMA also faces political hurdles.
A primary purpose of FEMA's flood maps is to provide the National Flood Insurance Program with a way to determine flood insurance rates. Homeowners with a federally-backed mortgage in an area that the maps have deemed a high flood risk are required to buy into the program, although those who either inherited or own their home outright are exempt.
There are more than 5.3 million flood policy holders in more than 22,000 communities nationwide, according to the National Flood Insurance Program. But at least 9 million people live in a FEMA-designated high-risk flood zone along the coasts,
to a recent study published in the Journal of Coastal Research. That tally also doesn't include those living along inland rivers, which are also in danger of flooding.
more than 20 percent
of all claims are filed by people who live outside of high-risk zones. If FEMA were to expand its maps to anticipate flooding based on future risks, many more Americans could find themselves mapped into riskier categories. This could lead to backlash from homeowners and developers who could suddenly find their insurance rates increasing or building plans running afoul of building codes.
"There's general agreement on the theory that flood mapping systems should more closely resemble markets and reality, but when push comes to shove it doesn't happen," Gennard said. "It's because of the political outcry from constituents who'd be heard in the short term. And their representatives listen."
He and other experts point to the Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act, passed by Congress in 2012, which allowed FEMA to increase flood insurance rates to make the program more sustainable. Homeowners, including many from New York and New Jersey in the wake of Superstorm Sandy, were
to see their insurance rates spike. In 2014, under tremendous pressure, Congress rolled some of the rates back.
"People have been complaining about the National Flood Insurance Program for decades, but every time it comes up for reauthorization, there's piecemeal fixes," said Jessica Grannis, adaptation program manager for the Georgetown Climate Center.
The program is up for reauthorization in 2017, which could provide an opportunity for an overhaul of both the program and its mapping policies. But Grannis wasn't optimistic. "People don't want to live in a floodplain," she said - even if, because of rising sea levels, they already do.
Along the east coast and Gulf region, communities have been facing an increasing threat of inundation from storms. The stakes are high. Flooding is the most costly natural disaster in the United States,
an average of $8 billion in damages annually - and now it's also the most deadly. Floodwaters
killed more people
than any other kind of natural disaster last year.
Yet preparations for coming disasters in many states are still hamstrung by political divisions, financial constraints, bureaucratic red tape and pushback from developers and residents who want to build in at-risk areas, according to climate and industry experts.
That combination has left states and municipalities struggling to prepare for more severe storms and rising sea levels, climate and disaster experts say. "Many communities have not begun formal planning processes - much less implemented changes," said Vicki Arroyo, executive director at Georgetown Law School's Climate Center.
The center has been
for climate change mitigation at the local, state and regional level. Two years ago, the most recent year for which data is available, only 14 states had a plan in place to prepare for the risks posed by climate change; nine more were working on one. The rest had no finalized plan.
The problem is partly political, experts say. Anticipating natural disasters now involves considering long-term climate predictions - and acknowledging the role that climate change can play in severe weather events. But in the U.S., climate change acceptance still breaks down almost entirely along party lines, which means long-term planning for natural disasters usually does too, experts say.
"It's probably safe to say Republicans are less likely to take climate change seriously and more likely that Democrats are more likely to take climate change seriously," said Robert Moore, a senior policy analyst at the Natural Resources Defense Council. The best indicator, he added, is "do you have leadership that actually recognizes that there's a problem that needs solving, even if that solution isn't going to benefit you during your term in office?"
It can be difficult for cities to take action on their own, because often they need funding and cooperation from surrounding municipalities and state agencies to implement broader change. Georgetown's tracker found that in states without a comprehensive plan, only a handful had local, regional or agency level plans in place.
Despite the political dynamics, some communities are starting to take action, particularly those who have faced disasters or see an imminent threat, noted Arroyo, who said she's sat in on statewide planning meetings around the country. "It is sinking in for some places that are vulnerable and aren't going to be more resilient because the land is subsiding and sea levels are rising and they have to think of a plan B," Arroyo said. "You could see the light bulb going off in people's heads."
In southern Florida, for example, several communities have banded together to
form a regional compact
to mitigate climate change, which includes efforts to monitor and restore Florida's coral reefs and provide financial incentives to businesses to become more energy efficient.
Cities like Seattle, Portland and Chicago have invested in "green" infrastructure, building up the amount of grass and foliage in city spaces to both decrease storm water runoff, filter pollutants and cut down on urban heat. San Francisco has reinforced part of its bay shoreline with oyster reefs and grasses to help minimize erosion and provide a habitat for native wildlife. In the wake of Hurricane Katrina, New Orleans has built a bigger storm surge barrier and requires homes in some areas to be elevated above projected flood levels.
The federal government is trying to push states to do more to prepare for disasters. Every five years, states must submit reports to the Federal Emergency Management Agency detailing their vulnerability to disasters and what steps they're taking to address them. Beginning this year, at the risk of losing federal funding, the plans must also include considerations of the effects of climate change.
While FEMA has limited pre-disaster funding available, the Department of Housing and Urban Development has begun providing support for some communities facing imminent threats. Earlier this month, a tiny community in Louisiana relocated with a $48 million federal grant. The 60 residents of Isle de Jean Charles are the
first to be completely relocated
with federal assistance. The U.S. is also providing
nearly $1 billion
to 13 states and communities already devastated by disasters to invest in infrastructure and resilient housing that can withstand future flooding.
Constructing or redeveloping homes, business and government buildings to ensure they can withstand major disasters - what is known as building for resiliency - can be costly. Absent federal funding, expenses must be borne by developers and homeowners, who may be reluctant to pay more up front for something that may or may not happen to their property in the years to come.
And building codes - which set baseline standards and are adopted at-will by local bodies - are still catching up. Only 65 percent of the U.S. population lives in an area covered by building codes,
to FEMA. In many of those communities, codes are often out of date.
Even in areas with up-to-date codes, resiliency is a relatively new concept, according to Ryan Colker, director of the consultative council at the National Institute of Building Sciences. "The code is very much focused on life safety - that if there's a hurricane or earthquake that people have time to get out," he said. "It's not about the long-term functionality of that building."
Meanwhile, the coasts are becoming increasingly crowded, with a population increase of 39 percent since 1970,
to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's National Ocean Service. That increase is expected to grow more than three times faster than the total U.S. population, at a rate of 37 people per square mile, through 2020.
If we keep burning fossil fuels, Earth will be 8 degrees warmer, returning to the climate of 52 million years ago, according to new research. It's the most dire prediction yet.
If the use of fossil fuel continues, scientists warn that warming will melt the ice caps, "which will expose bare ground, increase heat absorption at high latitudes, and cause more warming."
In even the bleakest climate change scenarios for the end of this century, science has offered hope that global warming would eventually slow down. But a new study published Monday snuffs out such hope, projecting temperatures that rise lockstep with carbon emissions until the last drops of oil and lumps of coal are used up.
Global temperatures will increase on average by 8 degrees Celsius (14.4 degrees F) over preindustrial levels by 2300 if all of Earth's fossil fuel resources are burned, adding five trillion metric tons of carbon to the atmosphere, according to the research by Canadian scientists published in
Nature Climate Change
. In the Arctic, average temperatures would rise by 17 degrees C (30.6 degrees F).
Those conclusions are several degrees warmer than previous studies have projected.
If these temperatures do become reality, greenhouse gases would transform Earth into a place where food is scarce, parts of the world are uninhabitable for humans, and many species of animals and plants are wiped out, experts say.
"It would be as unrecognizable to us as a fully glaciated world," says
, head of a climate dynamics group at the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom. Allen was not involved in the new study, but his research has focused on carbon's cumulative impacts on climate.
Noting that it took less warming, 6 degrees C (10.8 degrees F), to lift the world out of the
, Allen said, "That's the profundity of the change we're talking about."
The 8-degree rise in global temperatures would blast past the 2 degrees C (3.8 degrees F) limit that nations agreed upon last year in the Paris talks.
It also would heat the world to a level approaching that of the early Eocene period, 52 million to 56 million years ago, when palm trees grew
as far north as Alaska
and crocodiles swam in the Arctic.
Mammals survived Eocene temperatures; this is when early primates appeared. Some horses, however, shrank to
the size of house cats
, adjusting through evolution to a diet altered either by heat or carbon. Today's organisms and ecosystems may not be able to adapt to warming over the next 200 to 300 years-an instant on the geological time scale, says
, the Smithsonian Institution's curator of fossil plants.
Also, Wing notes that when the Eocene heat began, the Earth's poles weren't covered with ice as they are today. "In the future, warming will melt ice caps, which will expose bare ground, increase heat absorption at high latitudes, and cause more warming," Wing says.
Polar melt would commit the Earth to sea-level rise that would mean upheaval for coastal populations, which make up more than 40 percent of humanity.
The study predicts that precipitationwould quadruple in the tropical Pacific, while it would be reduced by up to third in the Americas and a factor of two over parts of Australia, the Mediterranean, southern Africa, and the Amazon.
Allen says not only could tropical rain forest systems collapse, but drought in southern Europe and the United States would be "completely catastrophic for agriculture." Wealthy nations might maintain food supply, but not places like southern Africa. "A lot of people would have to leave, or a lot of people would die," Allen says.
, a researcher at the University of Victoria in British Columbia, Canada, led the new modeling in an effort to address a key question left unanswered by the
Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change
(IPCC) in its consensus reports. The IPCC's worst-case scenario only charts warming up to two trillion metric tons of cumulative added carbon in 2100. In the new study, Tokarska and her colleagues askedwhat would happen if all known and recoverable fossil fuel resources were used.
The IPCC's worst-case projection is a temperature rise of 2.6 degrees C to 4.8 degrees C by 2100, and the few studies that go beyond that year suggest that warming would slow because of the physics of greenhouse gases at high concentrations. Tokarska and her team say that these past projections failed to include the complex give-and-take of carbon on Earth. Most importantly, oceans-like a saturated sponge-lose their ability to absorb more heat and carbon, leaving it nowhere to go but the atmosphere.
Of course, no one can say whether civilization will continue to burn oil and coal as long as it's available. Sheik Ahmed Yamani, Saudi Arabia's oil minister in the 1970s, famously said the Stone Age didn't end because humanity ran out of stones, and the oil age will end before it runs out of oil. But experts suspect that continued burning of fossil fuels is virtually inevitable until cleaner alternatives are cheaper and widely available globally.
Allen says the new findings are important at a time when some climate action opponents assert that warming would have beneficial effects.
The IPCC's limited time horizon can create such a misperception,says
, an earth scientist at both Purdue and the University of New Hampshire.
"The fixation on what happens by the year 2100 is unhealthy and ignores the large risks that become apparent when thinking on longer time scales and with a more complete treatment of real physical and biological processes," he says.
Huber says the new research doesn't mean there would be tropical conditions in the Arctic. His own studies indicate that such a transformation would require 10 degrees C (18 degrees F) more warming at the poles than the new study projects.
Yet he says the temperature rise likely would be enough to spur killer heat waves in highly populated regions of the planet.
"The health and economic impacts of such warming would be vast and unprecedented in human history," he says.
Allen agrees with the authors of the new study that their work bolsters the case for a "carbon budget" approach to climate policy: setting a cap on cumulative emissions. In contrast, the current approach of reducing emission rates simply defers dangerous warming.
A carbon budget approach implies that carbon emissions must reach zero-either by "keeping it in the ground," as some activists put it, or by capturing carbon or storing it.
The Paris Accord avoided mention of a carbon budget, but Allen says the science should point policy in that direction.
"The first thing we need to do to get to zero [emissions] is acknowledge we need to get there," he says.
Latest monthly figures add to string of recent temperature records and all but assure 2016 will be hottest year on record.
Last month was the hottest April on record globally - and the seventh month in a row to have broken global temperature records.
The latest figures smashed the previous record for April by the largest margin ever recorded.
three months in a row
that the monthly record has been broken by the largest margin ever, and seven months in a row that are at least 1C above the 1951-80 mean for that month.
When the string of record-smashing months
started in February
, scientists began talking about a "climate emergency".
Figures released by Nasa over the weekend show the global temperature of land and sea was 1.11C warmer in April than the average temperature for April during the period 1951-1980.
It all but assures that 2016 will be the hottest year on record, and probably by the largest margin ever.
The new record broke the previous one by 0.24C, which was set in 2010, at 0.87C above the baseline average for April. That record itself broke one set three years earlier at 0.75C above the baseline average for April.
The current blast of hot air around the globe is being spurred by a
massive El Niño
, which is a release of warm water across the Pacific Ocean. But it's not the biggest El Niño on record and that spike in temperatures is occurring over a background of rapid global warming, pushing temperatures to all-time highs.
"The interesting thing is the scale at which we're breaking records," said Andy Pitman, director of the ARC Centre of Excellence for Climate System Science at the University of New South Wales in Australia. "It's clearly all heading in the wrong direction.
"Climate scientists have been warning about this since at least the 1980s. And it's been bloody obvious since the 2000s. So where's the surprise?" said Pitman.
Pitmans said the recent figures put the recent goal agreed in Paris of just 1.5C warming in doubt. "The 1.5C target, it's wishful thinking. I don't know if you'd get 1.5C if you stopped emissions today. There's inertia in the system. It's putting intense pressure on 2C," he said.
The record temperatures were wreaking havoc with ecosystems around the world. They've triggered the third recorded global coral bleaching, and in Australia
93% of the reefs have been affected by bleaching
along the 2,300km Great Barrier Reef. In the northern parts of the reef, it's expected the majority of coral is dead, and on some reefs over 90% of the coral is dying.
Reflecting on the CO2 concentrations, Pitman said: "The thing that's causing that warming, is going up and up and up. So the cool ocean temperatures we will get with a La Niña are warmer than we'd ever seen more than a few decades ago ... This is a full-scale punching of the reef system on an ongoing basis with some occasionally really nasty kicks and it isn't going to recover."
Natural, technological, and human-caused hazards take a high toll on communities, but the costs in lives, livelihoods and quality of life can be reduced by better managing disaster risks. Planning and implementing prioritized measures can strengthen resilience and improve a community's abilities to continue or restore vital services in a more timely way, and to build back better after damaging events. That makes them better prepared for future events and more attractive to businesses and residents alike.
The NIST Community Resilience Planning Guide for Buildings and Infrastructure Systems (Guide) provides a practical and flexible approach to help communities improve their resilience by setting priorities and allocating resources to manage risks for their prevailing hazards. Using the Guide, communities will be able to integrate resilience plans into their economic development, zoning, mitigation, and other local planning activities that impact buildings, public utilities and other infrastructure systems.
The six-step process helps communities to think through and plan for their social and economic needs, their particular hazard risks, and recovery of the build environment by:
* Setting performance goals for vital social functions -healthcare, education and public safety - and supporting buildings and infrastructure systems - transportation, energy, communications, and water and wastewater.
* Recognizing that the community's social and economic needs and functions should drive goal-setting for how the built environment performs.
* Providing a comprehensive method to align community priorities and resources with resilience goals.
A fictional community, Riverbend, illustrates the six-step process and how disaster resilience can be integrated into community planning.
The first version of the Guide was released on October 29, 2015, and may be updated periodically as new best practices and research results become available and as communities gain experience using the guide and recommend improvements.
Numerous SAGE partners contributed to the content in this informative brochure that provides a helpful overview of the different types of shoreline solutions. This document is a great handout to help people learn about natural and nature-based shorelines.
Links to reading brochure online:
Urban Waterfront Adaptive Strategies
- A guide to identifying and evaluating potential strategies for increasing the resilience of waterfront communities to coastal flooding and sea level rise
This report is intended as a resource and reference guide for use by a wide range of audiences, including government officials, planners, designers, civic groups, and communities. The report provides information useful for many different types of projects that seek to enhance coastal climate resilience at various scales-from a site-specific development project to a neighborhood, city, or regional study. Part 1 provides an overview of coastal hazards as they relate to waterfront planning and design. Part 2 describes different coastal area typologies and the exposure of each to different types of coastal hazards. Part 3 includes a catalog of adaptive strategies that can be applied at various physical scales, and provides information that can guide readers toward strategies that are most likely to be suited to different sites and conditions. Part 4 outlines the process by which alternative adaptive approaches can be evaluated, including across physical scales and over time.
This months presenters were:
About Monthly Webinars
The Northeast Regional Climate Center hosts a monthly webinar with NOAA affiliates to address timely weather and climate concerns. These webinars are available to watch live. To receive notifications about upcoming webinars, e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Recorded versions are available within a week after the live webinar.
The National Climate Assessment summarizes the short-term and long-term effects of climate change on the nation. This map journal builds on the study, and presents information specific to FEMA Region 1 (the Northeast).
This journal discusses the effects of global climate change, as well as the climate impacts as a result of historic El Nino conditions (2015-2016). The main stage shows maps, videos, and other resources that the viewer can interactively explore. The text in this section will provide the viewer with a narrative, and suggestions for interacting with the content to the right.
Topics covered in the Map Journal include Global Climate Change, Extreme Weather and Rising Costs, Effects of El Nino (2015-2016), Effects on the Northeast, Northeast Outlook (increasing temperature), Northeast Outlook (increasing precipitation), Northeast Outlook (Rising Sea Levels), Critical Infrastructure, Agriculture, Human Health, Social Vulnerability, and Community Initiatives.
June 9, 16, 25, 2016
- Old Lyme's Forum on Climate Change, sponsored jointly by the Town of Old Lyme and the First Congregational Church of Old Lyme. Open to the public.
Come to Old Lyme Town Hall to Discuss and learn what to expect from weather extremes on our beaches.
- Thursday, June 16, 6:30-8:00 p.m. - Emergency Measures
- Speaker: Bill Dunbar, Former Mayor - Metiloking, New Jersey
- Speaker: Mike Caplet, Director - Emergency Relief for Connecticut District 4
- Speaker: Juliana Barrett, Assistant Educator - Connecticut Sea Grant
- Saturday, June 25, 10:30 a.m.-noon - Insurance, Real Estate, and Business Concerns
- Panelist: George B. Bradner, Director and Co-Chair - State Long Term Recovery, Property Casualty Division, Connecticut Insurance Department
- Panelist: Mike Barbaro, Incoming President - Connecticut Realtors
- Panelist: Bill Richards, Emergency Management - City of Milford
- Panelist: Julio Casiano, Deputy District Director - Connecticut District Office, United States Small Business Adminstration
- Moderator: April Capone, Former Mayor - East Haven
June 10, 2016
- Bridgeport Rebuild by Design: guest speaker event on climate change impacts on cultural resources a Bridgeport Rebuild by Design project. Open to the public. 7 Middle St. Bridgeport, CT
Want to learn more about the impact of climate change on cultural resources and the Bridgeport Rebuilding by Design Project? If so, join Resilient Bridgeport for one or more of the following events on Friday June 10th, 2016.
Brown Bag Lunch
11:30 - 1 p.m.
7 Middle, Downtown Bridgeport
Join the Resilient Bridgeport design team and climate change and historic preservation experts Adam Markham and Jeana Wiser for lectures and discussion on cultural heritage and sea level rise. Adam Markham, Deputy Director of Climate and Energy for the Union of Concerned Scientists, directs the Union's special initiative on climate impacts. Jeana Wiser is an Associate Project Manager for the Preservation Green Lab, which highlights and promotes the relationship between older, smaller buildings and sustainability. The Preservation Green Lab is the research arm of the National Trust for Historic Preservation.
This event is open to the public. Please bring your own lunch.
1 - 3:30 p.m.
7 Middle, Downtown Bridgeport
The Resilient Bridgeport design team will be working throughout the afternoon in an open studio format. Meet design team members, and take a look at the "Resilient Bridgeport Atlas" as well as design considerations and strategies that are being explored. Please stop in to introduce yourself, ask questions, and give feedback. This event is open to the public.
4 - 7 p.m.
University of Bridgeport Student Center, Great Room
Come learn about the coastal resilience and planning efforts in Bridgeport. The Open House will include information on the Resilient Bridgeport project, with a focus on design conditions and potential pilot project components. Light refreshments will be served, and open to the public.
Neighborhood Walk: Stories on the Ground
5 - 6 p.m.
Meeting Point: University of Bridgeport Student Center, Great Room
Join the Resilient Bridgeport team, community leaders, and climate change and historic preservation experts on a 2 mile walk around the South End to explore the relationship between the city's cultural heritage and sea level rise. Key stops include the Cottage District, Freeman Houses, regional power and transportation infrastructure, Seaside Village, Marina Village, and Seaside Park. This event is open to the public.
Rain plan: Virtual tour in the Great Room, at University of Bridgeport Student Center.
June 28, 2016
- Connecticut Association of Floodplain Managers (CAFM) tour of Stratford Point living shoreline project. Register by June 21, 2016.
Living shorelines help dissipate wave energy, allowing sediment deposition such that protective tidal vegetation can take root, thereby providing both wildlife habitat and shoreline protection. CAFM is presenting a guided tour of the artificial reef balls living shoreline project constructed at Stratford Point in 2013. The tour will be given by the Sacred Heart University research team that helped pilot the project.
The request for CFM CECs for this tour are pending with ASFPM. The tour will take place at Stratford Point, 1207 Prospect Drive, Stratford, CT on Tuesday, June 28, 2016. Parking is adjacent to the Audubon building. See the registration flyer for more details! Please register by June 21, 2016.
These funds are meant to help Connecticut organizations bring in new sources of funding for resilience. For this reason these CIRCA funds can provide the match for proposals that
will be submitted to an external funding organization. Applicants should apply to CIRCA before they submit their proposal or before the external grant award is made. The CIRCA award will provide up to 25% or up to $100,000 in funding to match a non-state or non-municipal grant proposal.
The Connecticut Institute for Resilience and Climate Adaptation (CIRCA) is a partnership of the University of Connecticut and the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection. The mission of CIRCA is to assist Connecticut towns and cities adapt to a changing climate and to enhance the resilience of their infrastructure.
Up to $100,000 Available
The CIRCA Executive Steering Committee is excited to announce funding under the Matching Funds Program - up to $100,000 is available. CIRCA will consider requests from Connecticut municipalities, institutions, universities, foundations, and other non-governmental organizations for matching funds for projects that address the mission of the Institute. To be funded, a successful Matching Funds Request Form must have a commitment of primary funding within 6 months of the CIRCA award announcement, or have received a waiver from the CIRCA Executive Steering Committee. CIRCA Matching Funds will provide up to 25% of the primary funder's contribution other than municipal or State of Connecticut funds to enhance the likely success of project proposals that advance CIRCA research and implementation priorities.
Proposals are required to leverage independent funding awarded through a competitive process.
Project proposals should develop knowledge and/or experience that is transferable to multiple locations in Connecticut and have well-defined and measurable goals. Preference will be given to those that involve collaboration with CIRCA to address at least one of the Institutes' priority areas.
Those requesting Matching Funds should consult the CIRCA office via email at CIRCA_matchingfunds@uconn.edu with any questions. Please see our growing Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) page.
Matching Funds requests will be accepted on a rolling basis. Awardees must confirm availability of the primary funding source related to the proposal within six months
The Resilience Roundup highlights
CIRCA's presence in the news, provides links to recent local/state/national news articles related to resilience and adaptation, and announces upcoming events and seminars.
The Connecticut Institute for Resilience and Climate Adaptation's (CIRCA) mission is to increase the resilience and sustainability of vulnerable communities along Connecticut's coast and inland waterways to the growing impacts of climate change and extreme weather on the natural, built, and human environment. The institute is located at the University of Connecticut's Avery Point campus and includes faculty from across the university. CIRCA is a partnership between UConn and the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (CT DEEP).